Wheat from procurement centres is being diverted to private firms before it reaches procurement agency's godown, its actual destination, an HT investigation has revealed.
The role of procurement agency, Punsup, has come under scanner in Mansa with procured wheat landing in a private seed factory before it reaches the godown of the agency.
As per the investigation, bags of procured wheat are being unloaded at a private seed factory, where the seed waste and poor quality of wheat is mixed with procured wheat.
The entry of vehicles carrying procured wheat is being wrongly shown in registers of the procurement agency in Mansa. The practice is continuing for the last three years with the alleged connivance of the officials with 'arhtiyas'.
The driver of a truck loaded with procured wheat has admitted that wheat from a procurement centre at Bathinda's Kahlon village was unloaded at Gora seed factory in the Maur constituency on May 13.
The next day, the factory owner loaded wheat bags in the truck before it headed to the Punsup godown in Mansa, he added.
Sources said the practice of giving good quality wheat to private seed factories is continuing for the last three years.
The rotten, bad quality wheat and seed waste is mixed in the procured wheat and the bags are then sent to the procurement agencies. While the bags of procured wheat are kept on the top, bags containing "mixed" wheat were loaded in the bottom of the truck that has a capacity of 450 bags.
"Within two weeks, more than 15 trucks loaded with poor quality wheat from the private seed factory had been sent to the agencies," said a source.
On May 14, on a tip-off, the HT team followed a truck (PB-03-7655) that entered the godown of Punsup in Mansa. However, the register showed entry date of May 13.
The truck loaded with procured wheat from procurement centre at Kahlon village on May 13 was to unload the wheat bags at godown in Mansa, but the truck changed its route and entered in the Gora seed factory in Maur. On May 14, the driver of the truck came with alleged bad quality wheat bags to the godown, where a wrong entry was marked in the register.
When media got wind of it, inspector Vakeel Singh and district manager, Punsup, Sanjiv Kumar Sharma were reluctant to order an inquiry into the matter and claimed wheat in the bags was of good quality.
Speaking to HT, truck driver Gurwinder Singh said, "I am not at fault. I had been told to take the truck to Gora seed factory. I left the truck there for the whole night of May 13 and drove it to the Punsup godown in Mansa the next morning."
Punsup's Mansa district manager Sanjiv Kumar Sharma said, "Suspicion was raised that wheat bags are carrying bad quality of grain. However, I checked the bags and found that there was only lack of cleanliness on part of market committee. We have written to market committee to take action against arhtiyas for failing to keep procured wheat properly."